England: England Hockey League 2023/24: Weekend 12 Review

Surbiton maintained their 100%  start in Division One South beating Southgate 5-1 to make it 11 wins in 11. They lead Holcombe by eight points who they play this Sunday in a rearranged game. Holcombe won a tight Kent derby, 2-1 at Sevenoaks at the weekend. Barnes stay third thanks to a 3-2 win at Slough. Bottom of the table Wimbledon 2s beat Canterbury 1-0 and they are now level on points with Team Bath Buccaneers who slip into the bottom two after a 2-1 defeat at Harleston Magpies. Two Bethany Gardens goals were key for Harleston who move up to eighth.

Two Emma McCabe goals were instrumental in Division One North leaders. Sutton Coldfield’s 2-1 win at Ben Rhydding. This keeps them three points clear of Buckingham who also won a tight game away from home, coming from two down to win 3-2 at Leicester City. At the other end of the table Swansea gave themselves hope of avoiding the drop with a 3-0 defeat of Stourport to move within a point of the Worcestershire team. Olton and Gloucester City played out a 2-2 draw and Durham University were the day’s big winners, 6-0 at Wakefield including a hat-trick for Tilly Irvine.

Conference East leaders Guildford were held to a 0-0 draw by Old Georgians but second placed London Wayfarers were unable to capitalise, losing 1-0 at third placed Old Lougtonians which keeps their promotion hopes alive. Elsewhere the form book was followed as the bottom three all lost. Ipswich went down 3-1 at home to Spencer, East London were beaten 5-2 by Hampstead 2s and Horsham lost 2-1 at Teddington.

It was tight day in Conference Midlands with only nine goals and no wins by more than one goal. Leaders Repton beat Beeston 2s 2-1 and they still lead Cambridge City by a point after they won by the same score at St Albans with Holly Dean twice on target. Oxford University won for the first time this season, Corabella Hill scoring the only goal in their game against Bedford. Struggling Belper also picked up a point in a 1-1 draw with Doncaster, and Birmingham 2s and Cannock played out a 0-0 draw.

There was a surprise in Conference North where leaders Pendle Forest were beaten 2-0 at home by Leeds for whom Lauren Ellwood netted twice. Fylde reduced the gap to the top to five points beating Bowdon 2s 1-0.  Leeds are a point further back and were joined by Newcastle University after their 2-0 defeat of Timperley who stay ninth. Brooklands Poynton are bottom and lost again, 2-0 at Durham 2s. Harrogate beat Didsbury Northern 2-1 in a mid-table clash.

All five games in Conference West were decided by the odd goal with leaders Bristol Firebrands made to work hard at bottom of the table Fareham wining 2-1 thanks to a Lizzie Cook goal with five minutes to go. Clifton Robinsons 2 stay a point back having beaten Reading 2s 1-0 and Trojans also remain in contention after a win at Oxford Hawks by the same scoreline.  Witney won 3-2 at Exeter to also remain in touch. In a six-pointer at the foot of the table Cheltenham put daylight between themselves and Basingstoke with a 2-1 win.                 

Bowdon’s lead at the top of Division One North is now eleven points after a win against one of their closest rivals and a loss for another. Dan Hamilton gave Loughborough Students a 29th minute lead at Bowdon but Tom Ainsworth levelled things up just before half time. Second half goals from Simon Egerton and Richie Dawson-Smith earned Bowdon the points. Second placed Brooklands MU went down 3-2 at Durham University who are just a point behind  them now. Deeside Ramblers 3-1 win at bottom of the table Leeds saw them move eight points clear of the drop zone, Cambridge City in ninth, losing 4-2 at Olton. Honours finished even in the Birmingham derby with Harborne and the University drawing 2-2, Harborne coming from two down with three minutes left thanks to late goals from Tom Poustie and Mike Baddeley.

Richmond’s lead in Division One South, is almost as impressive as they now have a ten-point advantage after winning both their games at the weekend. Jordan Hussell scored twice and  Richard Swan once as they beat Old Cranleighan 3-0 on Saturday. On Sunday they trailed Sevenoaks through an early Paul Macleod goal but Jack Clee and Sam Anderson goals earned all three points for them. After a draw and a loss in their first two games Richmond have now won 10 games on the bounce, a year after promotion.  A Ben Gegan hat-trick helped Havant to a fine 4-3 win at Old Loughtonians to move out of the bottom two, a point above Team Bath Buccaneers won drew 1-1 at Canterbury.     Sevenoaks edged past bottom of the table Brighton & Hove 3-2 for important points in the battle to avoid the drop and Teddington beat Exeter University 2-1.

A James Tindall hat-trick helped Conference East leaders Indian Gymkhana to a 3-0 defeat of Old Georgians 2s. London Wayfarers are five points back after winning by the same scoreline at Wimbledon 2s and Guildford vs Bromley & Beckenham also ended 3-0. Ipswich in 9th enjoyed a 2-1 win over high flying Spencer. Hampstead & Westminster 2s and Surbiton 2s played out a 1-1 draw.

University of Nottingham 2s extended their lead in Conference East to four points thanks to a 4-0 win over Harleston Magpies. Ben Shardlow (2), Barnaby Deller and Joshua Biddlecombe scoring for the students. Their nearest rivals Stourport were held 1-1 at Norwich City where Eliot Hibell’s overtime corner secured a point for the hosts. Jordan Groenewald did the same for Banbury to level it up to 1-1 at Birmingham University 2s. St Albans 4-1 win at Bedford put a four-point gap between themselves and the hosts in 9th.  Barford Tigers beat bottom of the table City of Peterborough 3-2.

The top of the table clash in Conference North went the way of Lindum who beat Timperley 2-1 to lead them by six points. Lindum took early lead through Ben Read and although Cameron Lewis equalised in the second half a Louie Sadler goal gave the Lincolnshire side the three points.  Doncaster go level on points with Timperley thanks to their 3-2 defeat of Beeston 2s. Ben Rhydding put eight goals past luckless Belper with no reply. Brooklands MU 2s 4-3 win at Sheffield leaves the Yorkshire side in the bottom two, trailing Oxton by a point after they lost 3-2 at Wakefield.

Bristol University remain six points clear at the top of Conference West after a 3-0 defeat of Chichester. Oxford Hawks in second beat Clifton Robinsons 3-2. Fareham pulled themselves out of the relegation spots after a 4-3 win at Plymouth Marjon and go level with Ashmoor who won 1-0 at Exeter University 2s. Cheltenham go down to 9th after losing 5-1 to Isca.                

by England Hockeyl

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